How to Give a Subcutaneous Injection Using a Pen

This video from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) demonstrates how patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can give a subcutaneous injection using a pen. Topics include gathering supplies, preparing the injection, and giving the medicine.


How to Give a Subcutaneous Injection Using a Pen

Female: This video offers help and guidance for administering a subcutaneous injection using a pen for medicine like Humira. Watch this video and read the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia patient-family education manual handout for more information. Do not try to inject medication until your doctor has decided you can, and you have been taught the right way to give injections by a healthcare professional.

Sophia: Hi, my name is Sophia and I'm here to show you how to give a subcutaneous injection using a pen, which goes under the skin and into the fat tissue.

Female: The first step is to gather your supplies. You'll need a safe, clean area to get your medicine ready, and you'll need the following supplies: ice pack, alcohol swabs, cotton balls or gauze, a Band-Aid if you'd like, hand sanitizer, a hard plastic container for throwing away the used pen, and the medicine at room temperature.

The next step is preparing the injection. For some medicines, like Methotrexate, you may need to wear gloves when giving the injection, so ask your doctor about this. First, wash and dry your hands really well. Read the label on the pen every time you prepare the medicine. Check the label for: your name; the name of the medicine; the dose; the amount of medicine in the pen, called the volume; the expiration date; and where to store the medicine.

First, hold the pen with the gray cap pointed down. Make sure the amount of liquid in the pen is at the fill line by looking through the window. This is the full dose of medicine you will give. If the pen does not have the full amount of liquid, do not use it and ask an adult to call your pharmacy. Turn the pen over with the gray cap now pointed up and make sure the liquid is clear and colorless. Do not use your pen if the liquid is cloudy, discolored, or if it has particles floating in it. Ask an adult to call your pharmacy.

The next step is giving the medicine. First, wipe the site you choose with alcohol and let it dry. Hold the middle of the pen with one hand, with the gray cap pointing up. With your other hand, pull the gray cap straight off and make sure the small gray needle cover has come off with the gray cap. Do not touch the needle with your fingers or let the needle touch anything. Remove the plum color cap from the bottom of the pen by pulling it straight off. Turn the pen so the plum color button is now pointing up and hold the pen so that you can see the window.

Pinch an inch of skin at the site you cleaned to bring the fat tissue away from your muscle. Place the white end of the pen straight and flat against your skin. Press the plum colored button to give the medicine. You will hear a loud click when you press the button. Press down and continue to hold the pen against your pinched skin and slowly count to 10. You will know the medicine was given when the yellow marker fully appears in the window and stops moving. Release the pinch slowly and pull the pen away from your skin.

You can apply pressure to the site with a cotton ball or a piece of gauze. Throw the pen in a hard container.

Sophia: You're all finished. You did a great job and you should feel very proud of yourself. Feel free to watch this video as many times as you need to feel comfortable giving your own medicine and ask your doctor with any questions. Remember, it's always OK to ask an adult for help. Thanks for watching.

Female: Check out the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia website at for more information and contact your provider with any additional questions.

Related Centers and Programs: Center for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Very Early Onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease (VEO-IBD) Program